The year was 2012 and it was my first Utica Music and Arts Festival. Asked to cover the festival by a friend who knew I enjoyed taking photos of bands, I dove right into the deep end of the pool of venues on Varick Street not quite knowing what to expect. The diversity of music was amazing as the festival featured several venues throughout the city and artists from all over the country playing music from all genres. For me, this sensory overload had been an eclectic introduction to what would become a new passion for me – music photography. It being the final evening of the three day event, I followed the crowd as they dispersed to the hub of what was the final show of the festival to be held at the Hotel Utica. Little did I know, this would be my introduction to a band that would quickly become a new favorite.
The crowd seemed eager and excited for the final show to begin. Although I wasn’t sure what type of music this Floodwood played, I felt a sense of excitement in the room that piqued my curiosity. Making my way to the front, which wasn’t an easy feat, I positioned myself front and center for the best access to these five musicians. Given the green light to make my way in and around for crowd shots from behind the stage, I was excited to see what was in store and hoped to get some good shots.
As the music began it was as though a bell went off for me. Already a music lover of all things Celtic and all things country, this bluegrass sound mixed the two sounds I loved so much, the banjo and fiddle. And so began my love and appreciation of bluegrass music. Bluegrass wasn’t new to me as I was raised during a portion of my childhood in the heart of Tennessee. Bluegrass was prevalent there, but country music was beginning to become increasingly mainstreamed and less “picking and grinning” as Buck Owens and Roy Clark coined. So this reintroduction was welcomed and so much more appreciated than those days of my childhood. Playing the heck out of the set, the crowd didn’t allow the band to stop until more than three hours had passed. It wasn’t until the management put their foot down that the music stopped and crowd dispersed. It was the perfect closing to an amazing weekend of music in the city of Utica.
Fast forward four years and several shows and festivals later and I find myself in the village of Clinton on a December evening at the Kirkland Art Center, a venue that often features some amazing music. This sold out show was a highlight in my hectic month, and with some new additions I was anxious to see the new chemistry of the band. Original members Jason Barady, Nick Piccininni, and Vinnie Amico (moe.)were joined this evening by Chris Eves from Castle Creek, and Tony Markellis from the Trey Anastasio Band. The chemistry they shared was as though they were meant to be. Not missing a beat, this group certainly knows how to get the feet moving and the hands clapping along as they pick and grin. Their individual talents are outstanding, and together they are beyond exceptional.
I highly suggest you take in a show soon this winter if you haven’t yet been introduced to Floodwood. You can thank me later for helping you beat the winter blues as I’ve never left a show without a huge smile on my face. #musicismedicine
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